It has been called a customer-service stunt by some commentators, but this week KLM, the Dutch airline, is aiming to help any member of the travelling public, whether they are one of their own customers or not. A special team of 250 personnel is monitoring social media and listening to travellers concerns – offering to help in any way they can. Film crews are on standby to video the more unusual requests, so they can then be posted on YouTube. It’s all designed to demonstrate how great KLM’s customer service is (click here to find out more).
I am not going to comment on this public relations initiative, except to say that much of the traveller’s experience when flying is not directly managed or controlled by an airline. Passengers typically travel to and from the airport with any number of other operators. The airport is managed by a third party, as are nearly all the processes that the passenger goes through, most notably security and border control. Even the airline check in desk is likely to be outsourced at any airport where the airline does not have a significant presence. So it may well be that the only part of the process managed by the airline is when the passenger is actually on the plane. In view of this, maybe it’s not such a crazy idea for KLM to be doing what it is doing.